The Rev. William C. Parker, a priest for almost a half century who served parishes throughout the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo, died Dec. 6 in Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center. He was 79.
Father Parker died after experiencing complications from a fall that led to pneumonia, his family said.
Born Nov. 12, 1938, to Carroll and Vivian Parker, he grew up in East Toledo, then graduated from Our Lady of the Lake Seminary in Lake Wawasee, Ind.
He went on to obtain a bachelor of arts degree from St. Meinrad Seminary in Spencer County, Ind., and later received a master of education degree.
After ordination in 1964 as a priest of the Toledo diocese, his first assignment was associate pastor of St. John Parish and principal of St. John High School in Delphos, Ohio.
“He was a good man and a hard-working pastor,” said Msgr. Michael Billian, who worked with Father Parker and was a friend of his for more than 30 years. “He had a lot of concern for young people and their education. He was keenly interested in that area.”
After his first assignment, Father Parker served as the associate pastor of Christ the King Parish and as an instructor at Cardinal Stritch High School in Oregon.
Father Parker served as the pastor of several Ohio parishes, including Our Lady of Lourdes in Genoa; St. Jude in Toledo; St. Catherine of Siena in Toledo, and St. John in Lima.
He was the longtime national chaplain to the Catholic Alumni Club International.
“He was dedicated,” Monsignor Billian said. “He was always around, he was always present and made sure he reached out to other people.”
Father Parker wanted to be a priest since childhood, said his sister, Vivian Johnson.
“I think he wanted to be a priest all his life,”she said. “I can remember as a kid we use to play Mass in our living room. He just loved the Lord.”
Even when he began suffering chronic back problems, Father Parker would visit people ill people at their homes.
“He cared very much for the sick,” Monsignor Billian said. “When he physically had great trouble, he was still dedicated to service.”
When he wasn’t working for the church, Father Parker enjoyed playing golf. He and a group of priests made annual golfing trips to Florida, stopping at golf courses along the way, the monsignor said.
“He was actually a really good golfer.”
Father Parker is survived by his sister, Vivian Johnson.
The Freck Funeral Chapel is handling arrangements. Reception of the body and evening prayer will be celebrated 4 p.m. Thursday at Corpus Christi University Parish, with visitation following until 9 p.m. A funeral Mass will begin at 11 a.m. Friday at Corpus Christi, with visitation resuming before the service.
The family suggests tributes to Corpus Christi University Parish.
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